Amusement at amusement parks

Oh, those wily coasters! Watch for cramps.

One or two of you know that I took on a writing challenge for the month of May and have been writing at least 250 words each day in an effort to simply do more writing. I would like to take a moment and pat myself on the back for actually following through with this challenge as today is Day 28.

Good job, Jill.

Several days ago, Julie Duffy with the Story A Day in May Challenge provided a prompt:

I’m spending the day at an amusement park with the kiddies. I love watching all the different people and types, from the loud, dramatic teens, to the young parents, the kid-free couples, the grandparents, the happy ones, the cranky ones…it’s great fodder. Write a story set at an amusement park. It’s a setting ripe for drama, mystery, horror, poetry, action, joy and sorrow. Go!

I like amusement parks. So, I wrote a story.

Coasters and Cramps

“I love roller coasters,” he said, as they drove toward the amusement park. He’d been talking about them for days. About how great they are. About specific ones he’d rode in the past. About how he suspected she wouldn’t be able to handle the thrill of the ride. Any of the rides.

Loving roller coasters herself, she was game for the challenge. She had many fond memories of zipping up, down and around railings with the wind whipping through her hair. And, she was all for making some more.

Walking into the park, they opted to ride the biggest coaster first. She’d been hearing about the ride all week: “It’s 230-feet tall!”“The first angle is a 75-degree drop!”“We’ll be going 125 km/hour!”

As they moved closer and closer to the ride’s entrance, the first drop grew steeper and steeper.

“Wow!” he exclaimed, craning his neck. “Get a load of how high that is. I can’t believe it’s that high. Look at that drop!”

“Are you getting nervous?” she asked.

“Absolutely not,” he said, as they slid into their seats. “I hope you can handle it.” She smiled. Famous last words, she thought. As they begin inching their way toward the first drop, she noticed his grip tighten on the handrail in front of them.

“This incline is really steep,” he said, looking over the side of the car. “It’s much higher from here than from down there. Wow, is it steep. Don’t you think it’s steep?”

“It’s a rollercoaster,” she replied, trying not to laugh. “It’s supposed to be steep.” Noticing his sunglasses were still on, she asked if he wanted to take them off, for safekeeping. No response. She looked over to see a face full of concentration and hands in a death-grip hold of the railing.

Unable to see anything but open air beneath them, they slid over the first descent and fell forever. Riders in front of them whooped and hollered, their hands waving in the air. Her rider shrieked like a little girl.

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” She glanced over in time to watch his sunglasses fly from his face and his right hand reach up and snatch them, shrieking the entire time. She was laughing much too hard to congratulate him on the snag.

He was shrieking. She was laughing and laughing and laughing. Before they knew it, the 2-minute ride was finished, and they were both left trying to catch their breath as the car pulled into the exit area.

“These were my favourite sunglasses,” he said, looking down at his right hand; the left hand still holding tightly to the railing. The frames were crumpled and one of the lenses was missing.

“You were shrieking,” she said, still unable to contain her laughter. “Shrieking. Like a little girl. I thought you liked roller coasters.”

“But, my sunglasses are broken, and these were my favourite ones,” he repeated, ignoring her comment. They got off the ride and slowly made their way back to the concourse. She noticed him limping slightly, but chose not to say anything.

“So, which ride do you want to go next?” she asked.

“I think we should sit for a minute,” he said, pausing to lean against a fence. And, that’s when she noticed he had turned a slight shade of green. “Did you want to take a picture of this moment so that we can remember it forever?” he asked.

“Remember how you told me all about your love of roller coasters?” she asked back.

“I think I have a cramp in my calf,” he said, gingerly flexing his leg.

“Probably because you were literally holding on for dear life the entire time,” she replied.

“OK, so maybe I just love the idea of riding roller coasters,” he snapped back. She laughed. The truth was out.

“So, you don’t really like roller coasters, but you know I like roller coasters, so you took me to an amusement park so that I could ride them by myself?” she asked. “That’s very thoughtful of you. What a giving person you are! And now you have broken sunglasses and a cramp in your calf. What do you say we call it a day and go find a pool to sit by?”

“OK,” he said. Awash with relief, she suspected. And off they went to the find the car. Slowly. Gingerly.

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